Sunday, June 01, 2014
Thai Coup Not Affecting Swedish Gripen Deal
Via The Local: The military coup in Thailand has not had an impact on the planned delivery of Swedish Gripen fighter jets with supplies and support, with the Thais now in possession of 12 of the aircrafts. "It needs continuous deliveries for maintenance and such", Jan-Erik Lövgren of the Swedish Agency for non-proliferation and export controls (ISP) told the TT news agency. ISP is the government body that controls Sweden's defence exports. The deal to sell 12 Gripen aircraft to the Thais was inked in 2008 with the last three jets handed over recently. In addition to the aircraft the Thais also snapped up two SAAB 340 AEW, radar and other systems as well as benefiting from Swedish training and on-site support. The project was called Peace Suvarnabhumi according to Saab on its website. On May 22nd the Thai army gained control of the country and locked up several high-ranking politicians, journalists, and scholars. Mass protests have since followed with the military arguing it was a necessary measure to return stability to Thailand after a turbulent few months. "When these things happen we look at what is going on and we can verify that we don't have any current commissions in Thailand. So we don't have any matters to consider but if something like that came up then naturally we would have to consider it", added Lövgren. The change of power in Bangkok could have a knock-on effect for ISP particularly if a mooted trade embargo becomes a reality. Lövgren said the current situation was not an immediate grounds for concern. "No, not right now but we are following this closely", he said. There is currently an ongoing investigation regarding Swedish exports of military equipment which is due to be completed later this year. Thailand snapped up six Gripen aircraft in 2013 making the nation one of the biggest customers for Swedish military equipment.